How are we doing, Scandal watchers? How are we feeling? This week’s episode was a slight improvement over the past few weeks, right? I mean, still plenty of grossness (Jake), but a nice power play from one of our minor players, while another yells all the things we want to yell at Olivia but are unable to. This show now even has me agreeing with Quinn. Thanks a lot, show.

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I am so sick of whining about Scandal, let’s start out with the good: Abby! We should have known that she was about to have a powerful episode when she started it by rightly running away from her ex David as he tried to tell her about the romantic threesome he’s caught in. She goes from that to being Chief Of Staff by the end of the episode, so, you know, good run for her. There were way too many Shonda diatribes that Darby Stanchfield appears to just revel in, especially when she tells Olivia she wants to “Run that mother” (ouch). Yes, she went a little dark side by turning in Cyrus, but you know what? That’s not nearly as dark as Cyrus has been nearly every day for the past three years. He has another job, and now, we expect, he will lead Frankie Vargas to go after the presidency with both barrels.

The bad: As this show has floundered in season five, did anyone really think, “You know what Scandal needs right now, is Hollis from season one”? He just winds up ruffling some feathers at some meetings, and stealing Mellie’s slogan (she has no one else to blame; she was warned) before he becomes a Trump stand-in, talking about those pesky illegals. I share Fitz’s enthusiasm that Hollis’ involvement may be fun (“Hollis is a joke, no one will take him seriously”), because this race has been deadly dull so far. Although the tough side of Susan Ross was enjoyable to watch emerge this week.

Also bad: Huck thinks that his ex’s new boyfriend is trying to get revenge on him by using his ex-wife and his son, so he kidnaps the guy to see if he has six toes or not? For a second it looked like OPA would have yet another dead body to clean up.

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The ugly: At least the chasing Huck scene leads to, other than Abby firing Cyrus, the best scene in the episode: Quinn ranting at Olivia everything we’ve been complaining about for weeks. This is also the ugly part of the episode, the fact that the Olivia we’ve come to appreciate as the head of OPA would spend her days in her apartment watching Jake have sex with his girlfriend on hidden camera. She blames it on being kidnapped, and auctioned off, and then spending her time in the Oval Office, and now having to hang out in the weeds with these people. Quinn’s right, this show talks a lot about gladiators and family, but OPA hasn’t been fully functional in years: Even Harrison’s name gets dragged out.

So it’s at least hopeful that Olivia understands that what she’s doing is nuts, but somehow that doesn’t make it any easier to witness. Especially when Jake looks right into the camera she has installed, or calls her “the sister he never had,” or asks if she enjoyed watching them. (Sometimes I can’t believe I ever liked Jake.) There’s a beautiful moment as Olivia is riding in the car with Huck, and he talks about watching his ex and his kid constantly onscreen, and she slowly realizes that she’s as crazy as he is, because they’re doing the exact same thing. As crazy as Huck is, that’s really saying something.

But Olivia being Olivia, she always goes with her gut, and at the end of the episode, when she realizes that Jake set up his fiancee the same way he set up meeting her, her paranoid delusions appear to have some ties to reality. Some, that is, not all. In the meantime, we’ve got a four-way presidential race that still seems difficult to get behind, and some hope that Olivia is finally crawling back to herself. We can understand Quinn’s disgust over what happened to the woman she admires so much, because we have the same questions. We still want to know if there’s still enough of her in there somewhere to make Scandal worth watching again. Her rant at Quinn, even her speech to Abby about how corrupting all that power is, appear to indicate that the show is attempting to right itself. But God knows we’ve been burned by Scandal before.

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Abby: B

Jake: D

Stray observations

  • Is Portia DeRossi’s stylist mad at her? I can’t believe someone put that blue outfit and hairstyle together from that first scene we see her in on purpose.
  • Shouldn’t Cyrus be a better liar? All Abby has to say is “You’re lying” a few times to him to get him to crumble completely. Than she just stone-cold lies to him herself, by saying she won’t tell Fitz, then turning around and telling him exactly that.
  • Marcus, face it, you’re always missing something.
  • Just picturing what “San Antonio rude” might mean.
  • If you were going off to look for your possibly homicidal coworker in the woods, would you wear a giant orange coat?
  • “Do you think it’s cool that not too long ago, Huck put a gun to his head and asked me to blow his brains out?” “I think you know the answer to that.” What?
  • Oh God, who will be the new press secretary?
  • “I thought it was Six Toes.” “You what?”
  • I know these reviews all look the same, but for some reason ABC sends out the worst promo pictures for this show. I get that they don’t want to spoil anything, but every round of pictures has the OPA people standing around that damn conference table. At least here they’re in a parking garage. A garage!
  • Do these people have any meetings without drinking the brown liquor?

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